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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Northwest Sustainable Agroecosystems Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #297900

Title: Management of soil biota and their properties

item Smith, Jeffrey
item Collins, Harold
item CRUMP, ALEX - Washington State University
item BAILEY, VANESSA - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Submitted to: Soil Microbiology, Ecology, and Biochemistry
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/19/2014
Publication Date: 11/27/2014
Citation: Smith, J.L., Collins, H.P., Crump, A.R., Bailey, V.L. 2014. Management of soil biota and their properties. Soil Microbiology, Ecology, and Biochemistry. 539-565.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: In natural systems organisms can be structured compartmentally to be, close to other organism for symbiosis, away from other organisms for protection and in proximity to nutrients and water. An example of organism symbiosis is fungi breaking down the macromolecule cellulose into smaller more “digestible” compounds that can be utilized by other bacteria and fungi that can’t utilize cellulose directly. In addition, an organism may need a specific growth factor or vitamin that may be produced by specific bacteria, thus growing in a mixed culture (soil) the first organism receives “nutritional symbiosis”. There is however a downside to living among a myriad of different organisms, that is some are predators and some will resort to predation to survive. Predation is probably the biggest factor in organism composition changes over time. When carbon inputs from litter reach the soil, bacteria increase in numbers, then bacterial feeding protozoa increase and a new short equilibrium will be reached in community composition. These cyclic fluxion in population structure drive the complex food web system of the soil and dictate nutrient availability to plants. From this perspective perhaps it is the soil microflora that are doing the “managing” in many ecosystems. We will discuss these types of interactions in the context of managing microorganisms.